Gentle Shepherd Blog

Our team at Gentle Shepherd Hospice wants you to have the practical information you need to make the most of every day. Check out these helpful articles and devotionals written by Kim Eckenroth our co-founder and VP of patient care.

How Parkinson’s affects communication

How Parkinson’s affects communication

If the person you care for has Parkinson's, you may be surprised to discover the many ways the disease hampers communication. Voice problems alone affect 60%-80% of people with this condition. Low volume and slurred speech may make it hard at times for you to grasp...

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Genetic testing for Alzheimer’s

Genetic testing for Alzheimer’s

These days, most everyone is wondering if they are likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. If someone in your immediate family has been diagnosed with the disease, you might feel at especially high risk. There is a test for an Alzheimer's gene (APOE4). But it's not...

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Start a safe walking routine

Start a safe walking routine

Walking for exercise is recommended for every phase of life! Walking is the easiest physical activity to engage in, and it brings multiple benefits. The ability to get around readily is often the deciding factor in whether an older adult can stay living at home. Many...

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Bad news

Bad news

If a person you care for receives a serious diagnosis, it can feel like a gut punch—for everyone in the family. There is no way to sugarcoat such a reality. There are ways, however, to make the emotional journey less traumatic. Grief AND joyEven if your loved one has...

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Personal emergency response systems

Personal emergency response systems

A personal emergency response system (PERS) can provide peace of mind if the person you care for lives alone. There are many factors to consider when shopping for a device. The need for a personal call button. Is your loved one at risk of a fall or heart attack? If...

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Beating the Heat

Beating the Heat

A Heat Advisory has been issued and extremely high temperatures and humidity are expected throughout the weekend. These conditions pose serious threats to the elderly and seriously ill. As we continue to monitor the needs of our patients, here are a couple articles to...

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“Lie to my mom?”

“Lie to my mom?”

Mom taught you to always tell the truth. But in the context of caring for someone with memory loss (dementia), honesty may not always be the best policy. There may be times when the kindest strategy—the one that reduces your loved one's anxiety or fear—is to omit the...

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What to do with their stuff?

What to do with their stuff?

Perhaps your loved one is downsizing. Or maybe planning a move to assisted living or a nursing home. He or she may even have passed away… If you find yourself needing to pack up a relative’s belongings, start by sorting them into five categories: items to keepitems to...

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Communicating with aphasia

Communicating with aphasia

If your loved one suddenly developed difficulty with speaking, he or she probably has aphasia, typically from a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Slow or garbled speech can be frustrating for everyone. Recovery is enhanced by following the advice of speech and...

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Getting out of the mental spin cycle

Getting out of the mental spin cycle

Do you find yourself in a repetitive cycle of reliving an exchange over and over? Reflecting on experiences gone badly is one way we learn. We think about what happened and look for insights that might promote a positive outcome in a similar situation next time. But...

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Common elder scams

Common elder scams

Financial abuse of the elderly is thriving. Advise your loved ones to be on the alert for these common scams: Government impostorsIndividuals call saying they represent Social Security, Medicare, the VA, or the IRS. They describe a problem with an account. Or taxes...

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Origins of hospice

Origins of hospice

The daughter of one of our patients is visiting France this week and sent her mother’s nurse this photo – a hospice in Viviers that was built in 1874. Curious about the early days of hospice, I did a little internet research and here’s what I learned… Historians...

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